Additional Book Information

Series: NYRB Classics
ISBN: 9781681375977
Pages: 312
Publication Date: January 4, 2022

Woman Running in the Mountains

by Yūko Tsushima, translated from the Japanese by Geraldine Harcourt, introduction by Lauren Groff

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Alone at dawn, in the heat of midsummer, a heavily pregnant young woman named Takiko departs on foot for the hospital to give birth to a baby boy. Her pregnancy, the result of a brief casual affair with a married man, is a source of sorrow to her parents. For Takiko, however, it is a natural state of being, even a cause for reverie. Her baby, she imagines, will be hers and hers alone, a challenge but also an instrument for her long-wished-for independence. Unsuited to the typical domesticity of motherhood, Takiko sets out to raise her son Akira on her own terms, struggling as a single mother to find a job that will pay for his daycare and allow her to begin saving for her own apartment, away from her abusive and shaming parents.

Woman Running in the Mountains is a profoundly atmospheric novel, attuned to place, light, and weather. A porousness of self and surroundings attends Takiko's first year as a mother, filled with the intense bodily pleasures and pains that come from caring for a newborn, learning how to make room for Akira, how to accommodate him physically, emotionally, and psychologically. At first Takiko seeks refuge in the company of other women, in the maternity hospital, in her son's nursery; but as he grows, her life becomes less circumscribed, expanding outwards into previously unknown neighborhoods in her city, and then beyond, into the countryside, toward a mountain that captures her imagination and feeling for a wilder freedom. First published in Japan in 1980, Woman Running in the Mountains is as urgent and necessary an account today of the experience of the female body and of a woman's right to self-determination.


This book is about calming the demons that pursue women who seek their own way, and about the triumphant superiority of feminine intuition.
—Susan Cheever, Los Angeles Times

The author of over 35 novels and countless short stories and essays, Tsushima left behind a stunning legacy of stylistically inventive and lyrically fierce prose that continually featured individuals pushed to the edges of society.
The Japan Times